Ex-Mercury Birds lead a transnational Southern rock rising.
One sad day in June 2000, the Mercury Birds broke up. Four incredibly talented and highly original musicians from Greensboro, N.C., would no longer gel into one Herculean force of rock and roll. All seemed lost on the Eastern Front for fans of the racing, highly melodic jam-core masters.
That was until John Sherman, M-Birds drummer extraordinaire, moved to Portland and formed Party Time with PDX rock all-stars Bryan Giles (also of Last of the Juanitas), Jeremy Walsh and frontman Mike Heigis (see: the Owners).
Meanwhile, back in Greensboro, Art Jackson of the Birds formed a mammoth rock band called All Night. All Night's music captures everything endearing about classic Southern rock--crisp guitar fuzz, chunky riffs, earnest vocals, pure accessible hugeness--and blends it with a refreshing jolt of punk-rock energy.
Now, touring under the composite flag of "Party Time, All Night," the former Birds members return as separate, godlike rock entities.
This isn't a case of a greater whole splitting into lesser halves--like, say, trend-setting Uncle Tupelo splitting into underwhelming Wilco and Son Volt. Party Time and All Night harness all the talent and raw power for which the lamented Mercury Birds were known, and augment these strengths, forming two infallible sets of music.
--Jason M. Rivera
Hiss and Vinegar
NOW, SOME SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION
Musicfest Northwest 2002, the three-night charity music festival organized by Willamette Week, is set for Sept. 12-14. Bands are invited to apply: All genres, styles, approaches, clothing peculiarities and questionable personal habits welcome. Apply anytime between TODAY and July 12 at www.musicfestnw.com, where you can download the application form. If you can't download the form, email us at musicfestnw@ wweek.com. If you are a Luddite with no Internet access, call (503) 243-2122. There is no application fee. Most festival profits will be donated to First Octave, an arm of the Portland Schools Foundation that raises money for schools' woefully underfunded music-education programs. A smaller percentage of the profits goes to The Cascade Blues Association Musicians Relief Fund, which provides financial assistance to ailing musicians.
Watch this space for more details.